With The Witcher now out worldwide on Netflix, it’s time to breakdown everything that you need to know about the show and it’s ending.
Throughout this, we’re gonna be going through the first season’s overall plot, it’s ending and our theories for what could be happening down the line. We’ll also be discussing the order of the show’s events and how the timeline for the season works.
There will be heavy spoilers here so if you haven’t had a chance to watch the episode yet and don’t want to know what happens then I highly recommend that you turn off now.
With that out the way I just wanna give a huge thank you for clicking this video, now let’s get into our breakdown of The Witcher Season 1.
The Witcher Plot Recap
Similar to the source material and game adaptation, The Witcher follows Geralt of Riveia, a monster hunter for hire that deals with the darker side of life, living in a world that mixes the balance between mysticism and magic.
I’m gonna be giving a top level view of the story as it’s very dense and I could be sat here talking about things for hours due to the mythology and inner workings of it. This is one of the most difficult breakdowns I’ve ever put together so to keep it simple we’re just gonna be going over the main events and how they interconnect.
There’s sort of three main plots that go throughout the storyline and both intertwine making a brilliant narrative. Though initially they seem disconnected we see how events play into one another and by the end they actually tie quite well together.
The Black Sun
Early on Geralt is brought to a wizard named Strigaboar, a man hidden away because of the target on his back who attempts to hire him to assassinate a mutant princess named Renfree that was born under The Black Sun.
Though he rejects the job he soon finds himself brought into a world of war, invasion and he becomes thrust into the battle between the forces of good and evil.
We learn that there was a group of females born under the Black Sun that came into the world with mutations and powers that could decimate the planet. Though the majority of those possessing these abilities were wiped out, some still remain as we learn throughout the season.
The show really starts with a bang plastering incredible, large scale battles across the screen that have callbacks and nods to King Harold and The Battle Of Hasting. Early on this feels like an amazing replacement to fill the hole left by Game Of Thrones earlier this year and Netflix spared no expense when it came to production values.
Henry Cavill too absolutely nails Geralt and he really gets lost in the character, masterfully recapturing his voice, mannerisms and solitary persona in a way that feels like authentic. Though there were initial complaints about his look, within the first five minutes I think you’ll be completely lost in the performance as he perfectly brings the character to life.
Elsewhere in the show exists the subplot which centers around Princess Ciri and her Kingdom Cintra which is upended when the forces of Nilfgaard overrun it. Ciri’s mother died and she is looked after by her Grandmother Calanthay who too passes away in the opening of the season though she does pop up later, which we’ll explain in just a bit.
Before her home is taken and all her friends are told to drink the Koolaid she is given the strict instruction to find Geralt for protection and we learn throughout the season that Ciri similar to Renfree possesses incredible powers.
This is because, as we discover her mother had a mutation that may be because she too was born under The Black Sun. She was likely never wiped out because of her bloodline and because Cintra distanced themselves from the forces of Stregobor and The Sorcerers. This is never explicitly stated but I think it’s heavily inferred. A lot of the show is about drawing your own conclusions and filling in the gaps but we do know from the original works that Ciri was always destined to become a Witcher.
We learn in the show that Geralt was in Cintra during its invasion in the first episode but he was given a false child to guard and then imprisoned when he discovered this. The Law Of Surprise was broken and this is why Geralt was not there for her when the Kingdom fell though he does try to track her down.
The Witcher Timeline Explained
Now the revelations of the season may leave some confused and the events of the season are sometimes difficult to understand without laying out the order that they happen.
The show plays loosely with its chronology, putting certain scenes that actually set things up in the first episode in the midpoint of the season.
This makes the timeline difficult to wrap your head around at points but basically the majority of the Geralt story showcases the events that lead up to the birth of Ciri.
Geralt’s timeline mainly takes place in the past whereas Ciri’s is in the present. Geralt catches up eventually but yeah, this is like a Pulp Fiction layout as far as the story goes.
Ciri’s life and what lead to it is what the show mainly revolves around and as someone who had only played The Witcher 3 I absolutely loved seeing one of the Game’s main characters in her infancy getting a fully fleshed out back story that really cements why she became such a fan favorite in the adaptation.
In the past Geralt tells Renfree that if she kills Stregobor then she will become a monster but, accepting this she and the protagonist go head to head, leading to him killing her and ultimately being banished by Stregobor who is as duplicitous as suspected.
Geralt clearly ends up regretting this and throughout the season he’s haunted by this big mistake.
This puts him on a path with Destiny in which he will eventually come end up having his life bound to Ciri but along the way he meets Yennefer. When we first come across her she is a hunchback that is completely unrecognisable from how I’m sure most remember her from the game…or rather that Sex scene.
Lads, lads, lads.
Stregobor has his eyes set on her and aside from Geralt she quickly became one of the best characters in the show. Though initially she is lead to believe that she’s nothing she is actually the perfect candidate for ascension due to her emotion and Stregobor uses all those at his disposal to win her round.
Yennefer’s Change Explained
This is exemplified in scenes where he falls in love with a mage after he shows her golden jellyfish to make her see beauty in the world and then later when her classmates are transformed into Eels and upon touching the water they glisten the surface with a sparkling electricity that slowly woos around to becoming more trusting and docile towards her captors.
Yennefer was born disfigured and crooked but through a painful magic procedure, she is transformed though this comes at a heavy cost. In order to be reborn, she can no longer bear children and her womb is removed. It cements how much the sorcerers, through manipulating her by showing beauty have changed how she views the world which ultimately she ends up hating herself for.
Her timeline takes place in both the past and present and out of the arcs of the show is probably the most straightforward to follow.
I think the show is really gonna get people invested in all of the arcs as it’s expertly produced, perfectly acted and there’s just a level of quality here that elevates it above a lot of shows in the fantasy genre.
It’s too early to say if this is better than Game Of Thrones but which that having a lackluster final season, this definitely has the potential to knock it off the top spot as this is a really strong entry.
The game always allowed choices for the players which is reflected in the show with Geralt having to deal with the repercussions of his actions. It also presents several episodes as what I would label as side quests which whilst some may see as filler, is definitely keeping with the source material.
Many things are captured perfectly such as quests changing their course mid-mission and the creative team really thought about what makes the game the way that it is and how to translate it to a show.
However, this leaves some of Geralt’s moments feeling a bit like filler, that while enjoyable adds little to the overall plot.
But they do have a good variety to them.
This includes hunting a ‘Devil’, reversing a Striga curse on a princess, stopping a dragon and attending a wedding.
They also run into Elves who after being stripped of their castles now live in caves, hated and hunted by humans who committed genocide on their race.
We learn that Yennefer’s real father was an elf and this is how she developed such abilities but because of human prejudice the race is highly persecuted.
Her lover divulges this to the council who plan to send her to Nilfgaard but after her transformation, she wins the hearts of many, including the king of Agan….yo, did you turn the PlayStation off…get that…get that sex scene back up.
The Sorcerer Plan
The Sorcerers are using their mages to control each kingdom, strategically placing them in order to rule the courts.
They deliberately sterilize their mages so that they can never have a family and will always be tied to them but it does backfire on those who resist. With all magic comes a cost but this one just feels overly cruel and manipulative.
Fringilla, one of the Sorceress ends up joining Nilfgaard as she is sort of cockblocked by Yennefer. There are hints that this invasion may be driven slightly by her, though Nilfgaards Emporer is said to be behind it. I know it’s not something that is explicitly stated but we do learn that since she joined the court they’ve made massive advancements so she was likely instrumental in the conquests. She also participates heavily in the battle so this is the conclusion I came to.
Yennefer detaches herself from the group though after she fails to protect a mother and son and sees the corruption of the Kingdom first hand. She leaves her post and begins working as a mage.
Yennefer And Geralt
Desperate to find a way to reverse her inability to bear children she tries to do whatever she can to rebuild her womb. It’s during this that her paths cross with Geralt and the two meet for the first time. Geralt who unwittingly unleashes a Djinn makes a wish in order to save her and this eventually drives a wedge between the two as it comes into question what it was.
The book never actually says explicitly what was said but the best fan theory I’ve seen says that he may have wished for the two to have a baby together which would have not only bound their fates but also reversed her predicament. Though she can’t currently have children it does mean that eventually, she may discover a way to.
We don’t ever find out what was said though and it potentially creates paranoia in Yen who believes that he may have wished for them to fall in love.
Yennefer who is desperate to have a child becomes angered by this as she can no longer trust her feelings and as Geralt is Sterile she is forever going to be unable to have the thing that she wants the most. There’s lip service given to a child that Geralt bound to himself and one that he lost which is of course revealed to be Ciri. Yennefer ends up leaving though and being called to defend against the Nilfgaard invasion.
In this point of the show during Ciri’s timeline we see her stumbles across a tribe of women known as the Driads that live in Brocklion forest.
She is being hunted, tracked through the land by all someone known as The Man With The Winged Helmet. Shapeshifters, men and those with black hearts seek to find her and oh my god I’m starting to talk like them.
One disguised as Malsack tries to tempts her into joining him on an apparent quest to find Geralt but through asking things about their shared history she discovers the truth. It’s a real tense standoff and they learn that they are being tracked by Niilfgardian forces. Ciri manages to get away and we learn that The Man With The Winged helmet is named Cahir, a big character from the book that even ends up joining Geralt at one point throughout the story.
He does initially come across as a villain and his arc actually differs quite a bit from the Netflix show. In the book after Ciri escaped from him he was jailed for a year though this doesn’t really play out here with him fighting heavily on the side of Nilfgaard.
The Witcher Ending Explained
Eventually, everything lines up for the final episodes with Geralt discovering Ciri after being helped by a man whose life he saves and a mysterious character. This is actually a vision of Visenna, Geralt’s real mother. Visenna was a healer and sorceress and similar to how they meet in the show, they come face to face after he is badly damaged.
She guides him towards Ciri and the two meet which ends the show and leaves us wondering what could happen next with Ciri asking who Yennefer is.
For the next season I think it will center around Geralt training Ciri in the ways of The Witcher and preparing her for what could be coming in Season 3 which I’ll get into in a bit.
The Nilfgaard invasion will likely also be a key point and I predict that Geralt and Ciri will join Yen and co in fighting them once the young girl’s training has been completed.
In the books Geralt actually ends up forming a romantic relationship with Fringilla, however he can’t get Yennefer out of his mind so he never dedicates himself fully. To be honest, I can’t see the show taking this route as Fringilla is very much a bad guy in this and with her going head to head to vehemently with Yen I think they will position her more as a villain rather than love interest.
There’s also potential that The Wild Hunt could be entering at some point as they are mentioned in the first episode and though I don’t think this will be till season 2, they will likely lay the groundwork for next time. The Wild Hunt are desperate to track down Ciri and I think next time that her training will be completed and they will come for her, thus tying into the events of the third game.
The Witcher Review
Overall the show is an incredible journey and though I was initially quite worried about the adaptation, they completely knock it out of the park. From the off this is a brilliant fantasy journey that feels like the perfect Christmas present from Netflix. They really spared no expense here and the show is earnestly acted, plotted and laid out in a way that keeps the audience guessing.
If I had to pick a fault with it I would say that this isn’t really that friendly for newcomers, I watched the first five episodes with my wife and she quickly got lost because a lot of it requires either pre-existing knowledge or drawing your own conclusions. If it’s piqued your interest though and you still have questions then it’s definitely worth checking out the source material.
The Witcher is brilliant and definitely the one to watch this weekend and Christmas break.
I absolutely loved it and that’s why it gets a…
Obviously I’d love to hear your thoughts on The Witcher and what you wanna see in Season 2. Comment below and let me know!